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Minor Arcana

If the Major Arcana speaks to the archetypal characters, values and events or universal themes that play out in each of our lives at some point or another, it is logical, then that the Minor Arcana speaks to the people, places and events that populate our daily lives. In a sense, the Major Arcana sets the stage for the the Minor Arcana which represents the characters, concerns, activities and emotions that make up the dramas of our everyday lives.

The Suits

The 56 cards in the Minor Arcana are divided into Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles and each suit can be seen as describing a particular approach or orientation to life. The four suits of the Tarot are pictorial descriptions of experiences in four different spheres of life. The four suits encompass every facet of life. In a sense, they unfold in greater detail and on a more personal level, the archetypal journey portrayed in the Major Arcana. Each suit focuses on some particular facet of the overall cycle.

Wands (Clubs) Fire: Will, creativity, original thought, action and movement, primal energy, growth. Passion, enthusiasm, adventure, risk-taking, confidence, inspiration, determination, strength, intelligence, intuition, our personalities and daily activities, ambition, expansion, egos, enthusiasms, self-concepts, and personal energy, both internal and external. Spring, East or South, the lion, salamander, blond hair, and blue eyes.

Pentacles (Diamonds) Earth: Body, practicality, security, material possessions, industry, business, commerce, trade, finances, and security, money, prosperity and wealth, health, property. Nature, our interactions with plants and animals and our physical experiences in the body, external life. Winter, east, the bull, gnomes, black hair, and black eyes.

Swords (Spades) Air: Mind, intellect, thought, reason. justice, truth and ethics, upcoming ideas, power, action – both constructive and destructive, physical, working stages, change, force, movement, oppression, ambition, courage, trouble, and strife, danger, worldly power and even violence, decisions, arguments, conflict. Fall/Autumn, the east or north, eagle, brown hair, brown eyes, the warrior.

Cups (Hearts) Water: Heart, emotions, the subconscious mind, spiritual experience, feelings, relationship, desire, love, affairs of the heart, the inner self, relationships with others, decisions, finishing stages, sensitivity, family life. Marriage, personal possessions and concerns, partnerships, whether in a work or in life. Summer, the west, fair, plump people who are emotional, artistic, humane and creative, perhaps associated with religious groups or institutions.

The Structure

The suits are structured much like everyday playing cards with ten numbered cards (Ace – Ten) and four court cards (King, Queen, Knight and Page). Each card expresses its own specific energy or vibrational frequency. A basic understanding of numerology and the prime numbers is useful in interpreting the cards of the Minor Arcana.

Aces and Tens: An Ace announces the theme of its suit. An Ace always represents positive forces. A Ten takes the themes introduced by an Ace to its logical conclusion.

Numbered Cards: Through the numbered cards we see every day life in events, interactions with others, and changing states of mind and emotion. Each card represents a typical archetypal experience that at one time or another each of us encounters in life. The numbered cards are associated with the happenings in our “outer” world, with the thoughts and feelings associated with our everyday activities.

Court Cards: The court cards embody character types or dimensions of a particular sphere of life. They are people with personalities that reflect the qualities of their suit and rank. The court cards show us certain ways of being in the world so that we can use (or avoid!) those styles when appropriate. They can indicate people, personalities, messages, situations, ideas and quickly approaching events. Court cards can be associated with Astrological signs to help the reader identify the timing and specific individuals related to a particular influence.

A King is mature and masculine. It can represent closure, completion, finality, leadership and authority, self control, discipline and principles. If a person, it would be a mature, usually wise man (or woman) who knows their limits. He is a doer who demonstrates authority, control and mastery in some area associated with his suit. This is a person who is strong, assertive and direct, someone concerned with results and practical, how-to matters.

A Queen is mature and feminine. She is associated with feelings, relationships and self-expression. Female energy or influence, receptive qualities. Completion of a relationship, project, job, pregnancy. If she represents a person, she refers to a mature woman (or man) probably in the child-bearing years who understands their deeper nature. The Queen represents our nurturing, loving and caring aspects, an awareness of ourselves and an understanding of our role as parents,

A Knight is a young person, male or female, in their teens or twenties, immature, someone who swings wildly from between extremes as he tries to find his path in the world. If a person, the Knight refers to a person who is prone to excess, but also eager and sincere, someone with redeeming qualities, someone with spirit and energy. The Knight can speak to a long standing situation that is about to change, or to travel, incoming ideas, the emergence into young adulthood. It speaks to a time for exploration, adventure and energy. This is the time to make a name for yourself in business and creativity.

A Page is a playful child. He is youthful innocence, pleasure and abandon and is easy, loose and spontaneous. He symbolizes adventure and possibility, messages, communications, beginnings. If a person, the Page refers to a child or adolescent or to the child within us. The Page speaks to a need for flexibility, change and formation, to a time for new beginnings and development.

The Meaning of Each Card

Look up the meaning of the individual cards in the detailed descriptions of each suit:

Wands Pentacles Swords Cups

Note: While some of this material was taken from our experience and early training, Much of this material was sourced directly from “The Tarot” by Eden Gray ISBN: 0553277529 and “The Enchanted Tarot” by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber. ISBN: 0312050798. Meanings are divinitory (for use as general guideline in interpretation in a reading) and do not provide the mythical or general background behind each major arcana card.

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